Pong. That's what this is really, and if ever there was an advert for not fixing what ain't broke, this is it. Bit.Trip Beat's is a classic gameplay formula, one of the oldest around, with a few notable tweaks to freshen it and increase its appeal for WiiWare.
You control a paddle located to the left of the screen, and you move it from top to bottom and vice versa by holding the Wii Remote sideways and tilting it back and forth. There's just a little too much sensitivity here. We found that too much coffee meant it was tough to get the paddle in exactly the right spot, but for the most part it's calibrated well.
Each level sees you having to bat away a series of Pong-style balls, called Beats, in order to rack up the points. The trick is managing to do it when the speed and pattern at which the balls ricochet around the screen is chopped and changed. You'll even be faced with multiple balls, frantic background bleeps and blips and visuals that'd look more at home on computers operated in underground lairs by evil henchmen.
Which is to say it's a fresh and compelling take on the Pong genre. Red Beats immobilise your paddle, some of the patterns the Beats move in are almost impossible to match, and the Nether Meter at the bottom of the screen has a nasty tendency to fill up suddenly - at a certain point you're plummeted into Nether Mode, a throwback to the classic Pong in black and white which makes everything harder to see. If the Nether Meter fills up completely it's game over.
Conversely the Mega Meter is the one you'll want to fill up, as this allows you to register the big points. By swatting away consecutive Beats this fills up and your score is ratcheted up. Transition Beats are the keys to the next part of a level, and eventually you'll come to the ball-spitting boss battle where every Beat you repel takes out a chunk of the boss's health.
The background music, while not directly linked to the gameplay, is a strength nonetheless because it drives you on with its relentless rhthym, and it's varied nicely within each level. Superficially this is simplistic, but delve deeper and in no time you're hooked. At 600 Points it's good value, but with only three (admittedly large) levels, you'll definitely be wanting more.